Let’s Talk: Lube Is Not The Problem

Let's Talk About LubeIt has taken me a while to understand that a lot of people outside of the sex-positive community don’t see lube as a good thing. It can actually be a very sensitive subject to some people and perhaps even taboo in some households. I think this is because there are lots of common misconceptions surrounding these sexual aids and not enough education. I didn’t learn much about lubrication in School and I was taught that it was not something people liked to talk about. It became a shameful, off-limits topic amongst people I knew and nobody came out to set the record straight.

I had to look into the rumours myself, which resulted in exposing a pack of lies and finally learning how to enjoy masturbation and sex. I reached the age of 18 before I realised that lube was a very easy way to avoid the sensation of rug burn inside my vagina and awful friction against my vulva. I didn’t think of it sooner as I was told that I should be producing enough naturally or my partner should focus more on “foreplay”. This is part of the misconception amongst folk that claim a sexual partner is responsible for turning you on and if you can’t get lubricated enough, then there must be something wrong with them, or you.

The use of lubricant in the bedroom has become associated with feeling broken, being lazy and having incompatible/selfish sexual partners. All of these things point to a lack of communication and the misinformation that is spread within culture and the media. I want you to read the next few sentences very carefully and repeat them to yourself as many times as it takes for the information to register in your head. “Using lube does not mean I am not broken. Using lube does not mean that my partner is broken. Using lube does not mean I am bad in bed. Using lube does not mean that my partner is bad in bed.”

Let's Talk About Lube

I’ve received several comments on this topic over the past few months, so I’ve compiled some responses to some of the most frequent comments/questions/responses below.

1. “Why doesn’t my partner get wet enough naturally?”

As you have used the term wet, I am taking that to mean your partner has a vulva. Vaginal dryness is very common and it can happen for numerous reasons. One of the most common culprits is medication. This could be antihistamines, asthma inhalers, antidepressants, birth control etc. If this person has a sudden change in the amount of natural lubrication that they produce after a medication change, it’s very possible that it’s the cause. Medication isn’t the only thing that can affect natural lubrication though, other causes include hormones, menstrual cycles, lack of warm up, age, dehydration and being a perfectly normal human who simply produces less than others. It very often has nothing to do with how aroused a person is. You don’t have to be wet to be aroused. If dryness is an issue for your partner/yourself, lube is your friend. It’s no big deal. Apply some and get going!

2. “My partner gets annoyed with me if I ask to use lubricant as he says I should be wet enough if I was really aroused by him”

I’m going to refer you to the last part of the answer above this question. Lubrication does not indicate how aroused a person is. Some produce more than others, some produce less, some produce enough sometimes, but not others. It’s just how the body works. We are all wired differently. If he does not understand this, please ask him to do some research. If he isn’t interested or willing to give it a try to make you more comfortable, then I believe the answer is finding a different partner who will actually respect your wishes, your body and want to make things as pain-free as possible for you.

3. “How do men feel about it? Don’t they expect a woman to be wet enough?”

I don’t think a man should expect anything from a woman. Nor do I think any partner should “expect” anything from the person they are sleeping with. I have come to realise that many people have unrealistic exceptions of how long it can take a vulva-owner to be ready for sex. Some can be ready to go in minutes, but others need a ton of build-up and even then, lube can be extremely beneficial. It seems that some people are impatient and expect sex to be like porn, where it just happens out of no-where, with seemingly no play beforehand. I would encourage anyone who thinks like this to do some research and become educated on the human body.

4.  “My partner and I tried lubricant but they said it gave them a burning sensation, is this normal?”

If it burned or itched during use, the chances are that you’re using a lubricant that doesn’t agree with you. Step one: Check the ingredients. Does it contain Parabens and/or Glycerin/Glycerine? If yes, chuck it out. I’m going to do a more in-depth post about ingredients at a later date, but for a quick overview, these are things you want to avoid. Glycerin in particular if you own a vulva and are sensitive/prone to UTI’s. If you’ve taken those things out of the equation and are still having problems, remove Propylene Glycol. Following that, check for things that you might be allergic to such as Aloe Vera. I would also advise a trip to the GP or clinic at this point to rule out the possibilities of an STI, UTI or latex allergy.

5. “We’ve used lube before and found it didn’t last long enough”

Water-based lubricants can dry out quickly, that’s a fact. A good thing to note is that they can be reactivated with just a spritz of water. I like to keep a spray bottle by the side of the bed to refresh so we don’t have to stop what we’re doing to reapply. There’s nothing wrong with stopping for a few seconds to top up though, if that’s the method you prefer. If that’s not ideal for you, then I would look at trying a hybrid or silicone based lubricant. Silicone lubricants can’t be used with most silicone sex toys as the materials can interact with each other (there’s more science behind this, but that’s for another post) and they can also interfere with pre-lubed condoms as many of them use the silicone type. If you want a slick, long-lasting glide during sex or water play, silicone is definitely the way to go. Just make sure to get some un-lubricated condoms first.

6. “What lubricants do you recommend?”

Anything by Sliquid, for water-based, I usually use the H20, Sassy or Satin. If I want silicone or hybrid, then I would go for Silver, Organics Silk or Silk. If I want something flavoured/enhancing then I’d opt for anything from the Swirls line (although Green Apple is the best), Sizzle or Organics Natural Sensation.

Another great brand is Pjur. Stay away from the relaxing products though. I like their Silicone Bodyglide Original, Silicone Bodyglide Woman and Woman Nude Sensitive which is water-based.

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